Interview : Roque Benavides
What measures can be taken to enhance the country’s non-primary industries?
ROQUE BENAVIDES: To understand how non-primary industries can be enhanced, the first step is to identify the challenges that need to be overcome, namely corruption, informality, centralisation and populism. Overcoming such barriers is directly linked to enhancing the skills and knowledge of non-primary industry professionals. We live in the digital era, which requires professionals to meet the standards of modern industries. Priorities for non-primary industries include adopting innovation and new technologies, increasing access to skills training, and leveraging mining and other key sectors, such as agriculture.
What key areas do you believe small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) should focus on in order to strengthen their competitiveness?
BENAVIDES: The most important aspect that SMEs should focus on is enhancing their digitalisation efforts. It facilitates formalisation by allowing companies to improve their transparency and decrease operational costs, while boosting their exposure to their target markets. Additionally, it is important to point out that this will allow the government to enhance tax collection efforts as well as improve the country’s overall economic activity.
How does mining help decrease poverty levels in Peru and enhance development?
BENAVIDES: Mining has played a fundamental role in the development of some of the most economically thriving nations, while also contributing towards decreasing poverty levels. Such is the case of Australia, Canada and Chile, as well as Peru.
Operations began at the Cuajone copper mine in 1969, and since the first gold was mined at Yanacocha in the Cajamarca region in 1993, not a single mining project was developed. During those 24 years, Peru experienced some of the most severe socio-economic crises in the country’s modern history. It was not until the development of Yanacocha that the country’s success in the mining industry began. Not only has mining created hundreds of thousands of jobs, but it has also acted as a catalyst for the development of associated industries, such as metalworking.
It is also worth pointing out that access to the highlands places mining companies in a position where they are required to build water supply infrastructure, such as reservoirs and channels, which are beneficial for the mining industry itself, as well as other industries, civil society and the environment.
What is the significance of establishing institutional arbitration for public contracting?
BENAVIDES: In ad hoc arbitration, both parties in dispute choose an arbitrator, which in many cases turns out to be the judicial branch. But with institutional arbitration, both parties assign a mutually recognised and specialised institution as arbitrator. Although ad hoc arbitration can be useful in some cases, having an independent specialised body facilitates the arbitration process for the parties in dispute and helps alleviate the caseload of the judiciary branch.
How can the country enhance its social agenda and increase private sector participation?
BENAVIDES: The Sustainable Development Goals as set out by the UN highlight the correlation between social, environmental and economic development. Only by understanding this relationship can a government meet its social agenda.
The involvement of all stakeholders – including civil society, state and the private sector – is also fundamental. Peru must focus its efforts on becoming more inclusive by strengthening the formal economy and its institutions in order to meet the economic goals that will allow for social and environmental development.
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